Work Your Way Through the Stages of Recovery

Did you know that your recovery from addiction will happen in stages? Every time you hit one of the stages of addiction recovery, you will have achieved a major milestone on your path to sobriety. Going through treatment and getting sober may be the most difficult thing you do in your life. Addiction is a serious disease, and recovering from it is hard work. Learn now about the stages you can expect to go through and use them as motivation to keep moving forward on your journey.


The first of the stages of addiction recovery is the simple awareness that you have a problem or that you need to make changes in your life. This happens when you finally see all the ways in which your drug use or drinking is affecting you negatively. You may start becoming aware by realizing you are hurting others and that this makes you feel bad. Maybe you suddenly become aware of the problem when you’re fired from your job or when your partner moves out. Awareness is scary, but it is the first necessary step to getting better.

Consideration and Action 

Once you are aware of the problem, you might still linger in a malaise of self-pity and continued drug or alcohol use. What is needed next is a decision to make a change, a consideration of the possibility, and then action. You have to shift from being aware to taking action. Some people take a long time to make this transition. It may actually be the most difficult one. To know you have a problem and to make the choice to do something about it are two very different things.

Exploration and Early Recovery

When you begin to look at options for how to make changes, you have moved into the exploration stage. Of all the stages of recovery, this is considered to be the first true step into recovery. In this stage you educate yourself about how to get into recovery and what your treatment options are. You decide whether attending a support group will be adequate or if you need to go to rehab. You may consult other people who have been through recovery and then you put your plan into action and actually start the work of becoming sober.

Recovery and Maintenance 

When you are in a treatment program or regularly attending support group meetings, you have achieved real recovery. You are no longer using and you are actively working on learning to live a sober life. When you have completed a treatment program, you may initially think that your work is done. However, you will soon realize that maintenance of sobriety is the final stage of recovery. And it isn’t always a piece of cake. Maintaining your sobriety will carry on for the rest of your life, but it will get easier with time. From drug addiction and alcoholism acceptance stages all the way through to maintenance, your journey through the stages of recovery may be the most important thing you ever do. It may even be what saves your life and makes life enjoyable and worth living.

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